The Iranian government is striving to end the third round of the truck drivers’ strike in fear that it might lead to other protests in the crisis-ridden country.
Officials did not take any serious measures against the strike and the governors of Shiraz and Bandar Abbas were even told not to take any measures when they informed the capital about transportation problems in their provinces caused by the strike. Tehran instructed them to leave the drivers alone and that they would return back to work once they faced financial problems.
Despite what the government thought, the truckers’ strike continued in up to 290 cities in all of Iran’s 31 provinces. On the fourth day of the strike, Bazaar merchants and store owners also announced that they would join the strike on October 8. It was at this point that the
Government’s measures against strikers
- Officials gave speeches at loading terminals and promised drivers that their requests would be met.. Drivers reacted with anger.
- Striking corporate and government truck drivers were threatened with expulsion.
- Drivers were told that their fuel cards would be made invalid unless they came back to work. Drivers ignored this threat and continued their strike.
- Adding freight rates from 20% to 25% in one province which did not end the strike.
- The arrest of more than 200 striking drivers who had parked their cars on
road-sidesin Isfahan, Fars, Ardebil, and Alborz provinces.
- Iran’s Chief Prosecutor threatened those drivers and said those who disrupted road regulations could be sentenced to death as bandits.
- In Bandar Abbas, it was announced that tires would be sold at cheaper rates, but this turned out to be propaganda and the tires were only put on display for state-TV cameras.
- State agents in Arak removed the license plates of trucks parked in two separate repair shops on Monday. The agents took the plates with them and told the garage workers that if the drivers want them back, they had to be willing to load again.
- In Arak, officials threatened drivers that they would close down the town’s loading terminal if they continued their strike. The terminal was closed by Revolutionary Guards Corps agents as the truckers’ refused to end their strike.
- Military and corporate trucks were organized in a convoy in Bandar Abbas and Bushehr while they were filmed by state TV saying that no one was on strike in these cities and that work was continuing as usual.
Strike impacting Iran’s already failing economy
Truck drivers have told Iran News Wire that the Mobarakeh Steel Plant in Isfahan is on the verge of closing. The continuing truckers’ strike has caused a failure of delivery of raw material to major factories. At the same time, the factory’s manufactured goods have been stored in the factory.
List of some factories that have stopped work after the strike:
- Three iron melting furnaces have shut down in Isfahan.
- Most cement factories have been shut down including the Saman Cement Factory, which is said to be the largest cement plant in the Middle East.
- Bushehr’s petrochemical company in Asaluyeh went on alert after its chemical tanks were not emptied for eight days. This can cause a serious chemical leak and if not emptied on time, the petrochemical plant will have to stop its activities.
- The closure of companies that manufacture bricks, tiles and mosaics.
- Most construction projects have come to a halt.
- The closure of iron and steel factories and workshops and many other factories due to a lack of raw materials and not being able to transfer manufactured goods.